Why should i get linux over windows 8

Discussion in 'Getting Started' started by matthewweiler, Jul 14, 2013.

  1. matthewweiler

    matthewweiler New Member

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    I am going into college next year to study computer science, and I want to have a good OS, my laptop already comes with windows 8, and I was wondering why I should move to linux. I do not know much about programming, so the only reason I would switch over is because of the customization possibilities. Please someone sell me into switching over. :)

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  2. ryanvade

    ryanvade Administrator Staff Member Staff Writer

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    Okay. There are many reasons. First is security. Linux is just as secure as OSX. (Don't try to tell me differently).

    Second is upgrade ability. It is very easy to upgrade to the newest release.

    Third is price. Common, Linux is free. I know that you already have Win 8, but how many programs for Win 8 are free?

    Fourth would be the experience. Using Linux is like a revolution. You get complete control over your computer.

    Fifth, customization. Don't like the "Windows 7" like start menu of KDE, try Unity. Don't like Unity, try Gnome. Don't like Gnome, try Awesome. Don't like Awesome, try openbox. And of course each environment has many customization options.

    Sixth would be performance. Linux generally uses less RAM and CPU then Windows or OS.

    Seventh, the support. Lets face it, Linux has awesome forums.

    Eighth, awesome distributions. You are going to college for computer science. I am too!!! So, Linux can very easily provide you with custom distributions that fit your needs. For example, Fedora Robotics spin.
    http://spins.fedoraproject.org/robotics/
    Scientific Linux:
    http://distrowatch.com/table.php?distribution=scientific

    Ninth, large selection of software. What can I say? The Linux community has a large selection of software. Computer science majors need compilers,libraries, multiple environments, etc. All of which are available with Linux. (okay, GNU/LINUX)
  3. ITEm

    ITEm New Member

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    Tenth:
    You'll find that learning the Linux command line interface (CLI) will serve you well when learning other OS CLIs, such as Cisco IOS/Windows server, etc.

    Gratz on choosing comp sci! Fellow student here too. Good luck :)
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  4. Linux As Usual

    Linux As Usual New Member

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    You're out of your mind if you are choosing just linux over windows for college. It is likely that along the way you are going to run into some windows/mac software that is required for a class down the road. Many math classes require specific software. It's likely that you will be expected to use a specific compiler for a computer science major and it is very likely that it is windows/mac software.

    If you do decide to go down the road of linux, make it a dual boot system with windows 8. You don't want to be high and dry without the ability to run that software.
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  5. nickmh

    nickmh New Member

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    When was the last time the CEO of Windows called you up to tell you that they're looking after your information and your PC experience?

    Never, right?!

    The CEO of linux will not call either, there isn't one.

    It's a community. Remember? that thing where everyone has the opportunity to benefit from each others experience. That's Linux!

    The community will take care your PC needs, as long as you're prepared to take interest in and help yourself.

    Besides, Windows 8 sucks so bad! :)
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  6. Peter Jones

    Peter Jones New Member

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    If your going to be studying computer science it doesn't make any sense to use an OS for dummies who can't read (Win 8 seems to be 'look at pictures, push button')
    I would partition drive (if it's large enough) or fit a new large hard drive, clone Win 8 onto it then install various distro's in partitions to get a multi boot machine
    If you do that, you may already be ahead of the curve?:D
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  7. SLW210

    SLW210 Member

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    I agree, you should dual boot, since you already have Windows 8.

    Good thing about Linux is FREE, even though you have Windows now, in the future should you build your own PC, you'll already be familiar with Linux.
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  8. MikeyD

    MikeyD Active Member

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    Unfortunately with Adolph Gates' 'Secure Boot' it may be difficult to even uninstall Windows 8 although I haven't tried (refuse to buy a Windows 8 PC luckily there are still a few out there sold with Windows 7), but I would say getting a feel for Linux is definitely a necessity for anyone aspiring to a professional life in computing. Also, I apologize in advance for this lengthy post! :)

    Why Linux?
    Linux(and Unix) is everything an OS should be and the more and more familiar you get with it the more you'll get "sucked in." There is no doubt a steep learning curve at first, (I would recommend http://linuxcommand.org/learning_the_shell.php to get started) but getting a user-friendly distro like Ubuntu or Mint running is even easier than installing Windows (since there is less bloated crapware you don't need), and will run much faster. Windows 8 is like turning your PC into a tablet, and I can guarantee after a few years as a Comp Sci major you will hate it if you don't already.
    There is nothing you can access in Windows that you can't in Linux. Compilers? You'll most likely be taking classes in C and C++ which Linux is based on (and one of the reasons C, a language written in early 1970s, is still so popular), Java isn't an issue as Eclipse (arguably the most popular Java IDE) is available on Linux as well as compilers for almost any language you'll be using (Python, LISP, Perl, etc.. avoid any Visual Basic classes if you can it will teach you bad habits early on) Not only that, but once you have a grasp on these languages you can actually write small programs and implement them much easier than in Windows. If there is something that runs in Windows you absolutely NEED for school you can install Wine, a sort of Windows VM, to run the software although Linux' open-source equivalents are almost always more lightweight, less buggy, and just better all around. LibreOffice will replace your MS Office products and allow you to save in the same formats (.doc, .xls, etc.), save you the $100 Microsoft would charge, and (in my opinion) boots up and run much faster. You'll also have 'street cred' with the other comp sci geeks (I say that in a loving sense) who have been programming since they were 10. Your computer knowledge will grow exponentially and can be applied to many aspects of design and development (as much as they like to cover it up, Windows still runs on a kernel and borrowed a lot of Windows NT ideas from MacOS and OS X who in turn borrowed ideas from Unix/Linux) You'll learn to love the CLI, which if you want to be a programmer or even a system admin you will be seeing A LOT of. For every fancy, graphical GUI application you use, there was some guy staring at a black screen with a blinking cursor writing the code that created that interface and the more you use the CLI the more you'll find it more flexible and efficient than a GUI believe it or not. I run Arch Linux on my home laptop and I only use the GUI for conky to display system info, any file moving or executing and upgrades/installations can be more easily on the command line than a GUI. (it still drives me crazy Windows 7 makes MOVING a file so difficult. I can copy a file but I cant move it? Wtf.) Want to move all your GIF images to another folder? 'mv *.gif ~/pictures/mygifs' will do what would take a GUI a lot of clicking, selecting, and dragging to accomplish.

    Professional Life:
    If after college you want to go into the tech industry (which I'm assuming you do) you WILL be working with Linux and/or Unix systems without a doubt. Inexperienced PC/Mac users will laugh at Linux as being a dead OS or only for super-geeks, yet most are ignorantly oblivious that they interact with Linux (albeit indirectly) everyday on their smartphones, online through Google or Facebook (which uses LAMP front-end, Linux, Apache, MySQL, PHP), even OS X is Linux-based and opening a terminal on a Mac will throw you into a bash shell. I work at a large corporate software company (not Oracle, but one of their biggest competitors) as tech support for their RDBMS (relational database management system) software and I can honestly say 70% of our customers run their enterprise servers on Linux, the remaining 20% run on some proprietary version of Unix (AIX or HPUX) and maybe 10% or so run on Windows. These are big companies too, hospitals multinational banks, Hollywood movie studios, huge financial firms, etc. Learning the shell and how to work and troubleshoot a Linux system will be invaluable on a resume and in almost any tech job you wish to pursue.

    Alternatives:
    If you're still intent on keeping Windows 8 there are some other alternatives you at least get a feel for Linux and it honestly may be a good way to start. Oracle's Virtual Box will let you run a virtual version of Linux on your Windows OS. Its not quite as fast since it is a VM, but it will let you play around with a Linux distribution without having to worry about destroying your files/applications.
    Another great option is Cygwin. It might be tricky to first install for a new user since you need to choose each package you want individually, but do a Google search on a basic Cygwin environment and once you get more experience you can always add or remove packages as you find what you need or don't need.

    Here are a few cool links for more reading if you're interested:
    http://www.catb.org/~esr/faqs/hacker-howto.html
    -The Hacker Manifesto, one of the 'holy scriptures' of the open-source and hacker community. A must-read for any would-be programmer.

    http://bash.cyberciti.biz/guide/Main_Page &
    http://linuxcommand.org/learning_the_shell.php
    -Shell Scripting and Shell Tutorials, if you do make the Linux conversion, learning to script in the shell can be extremely helpful and allows for the flexibility to create scripts to make your life easier. Windows doesn't have a program to easily do what you want? In Linux you can create your own. Throw it in your /bin directory and you can access it anywhere on your computer. For example, reading file sizes in bytes was annoying when I had to deal with large database dump files and I was too lazy to pull out a calculator or byte converter so I wrote a quick script in a few minutes to convert bytes into KBs, MBs, GBs, and 2K pages so when I see a file that is 104352732 bytes I don't have to guesstimate the conversion I can just type: 'bytes 104352732'
    and I get:
    ---------------
    101906.964 KBs
    99.518 MBs
    0.097 GBs
    50953.482 2K Pages

    http://www.catb.org/~esr/writings/taoup/html/index.html
    -The Art of Unix Programming, very lengthy book, but does a great job of detailing the history of Unix (and of computing) as well as what makes Unix so great.
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  9. PointMan

    PointMan New Member

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    Sorry for necrobump but I have seen enough when searching for objective opinion on why should I chose Linux over Windows and this made me lost it.

    How a graphical user inferface is dumb? what makes you think text is better than picture and graphic? if text is better why have we moved from the text-based interface to graphic based WIMP environment that even linux using right now.

    I hate that linux users often say degrading comment not only to windows, but also its users, that have drove me away and to hate the OS now, as a computer science student I see that the only things linux have over windows is little more security, free of cost and less computer requirement. other than that linux have a small amount native apps and most of the time have to run windows app in wine at low performance, and because of backward compatibility native app break often, and dont get me started on how lacking driver support is.

    ***Edited by @ryanvade Profanity is not allowed.
    Last edited by a moderator: Jan 11, 2014
  10. lobo

    lobo Active Member

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    When it comes to operating systems "hate" seems irrational. Hating an OS based on the comments of a few users on the web seems absurd.

    The person you quoted referred to Windows 8 specifically as "an OS for dummies who can't read" - not all windows releases. Anyway that's an opinion, why should you care what a Linux user thinks about Windows 8? Do you get just as upset when a Windows 7 users criticises Windows 8?

    As a "computer science student" you do not seemed to have a good grasp of the differences between GNU/Linux and other operating systems. This is evident by your reduction of the whole argument to "text vs graphic". I would suggest doing some more research and avoiding comments posted by fanbois - or at least not taking everything you read so seriously.
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  11. ainteinstein

    ainteinstein Member

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    My son learned about and used Linux in college ie thru his engineering courses so I am sure, matthewweiler, you shall too, esp with your major. But I would not be so quick to dump Win 8 on your computer because I do know that my son needed Microsoft Office on his laptop in order to read his college emails and still does. My suggestion to you is to find out what your college uses for all its' correspondences, my bet is it is going to be Windows based. However, remember, you can always go either Live or duel boot with Linux, Linux does like and plays well with others. Wonderful Luck with your Education!
  12. DevynCJohnson

    DevynCJohnson Well-Known Member Staff Member Staff Writer

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    I am using GNU/Linux in college and I even made Word Documents (via Libre-office) in APA format. Use WINE for Windows-specific programs if needed.
  13. Peter Jones

    Peter Jones New Member

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    Widows 8 is an operating system for dummies.
    That's why it went to a picture menu
    I don't know if or how many foreign languages you speak, but, if you go to a MacDonalds anywhere in the world, you can just point at the picture to get what you want. Win 8 is no different. For multitude of consumers it's probably a good thing, I've seen the state of 'education' in USA over the last 14 yrs. You may not be aware that some states have a multi-level GED
    Level one, you take exam and pass, level2 you take exam and fail (but, hey, you tried) level 3, you didn't try exam but got a grade based on not being disruptive in school
    Instead of raising the bar, it's being lowered to a point of being meaningless
    At least with a text interface you have to be able to read and write, or isn't that important enough for you?
    Of course, Windows will be needed as that is what majority use, but, studying 'computer science' is not the same a studying Windows
    Setting up and troubleshooting Unix is an everyday job for many people working with computer networks (ISP, etc)
    Last edited: Jan 10, 2014
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  14. finian1108

    finian1108 New Member

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    if you want to run a windows application on linux you can, all you have to do is install wine, but I would still go with a dual boot
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  15. crusoe

    crusoe New Member

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    As your major is computer science and if you are interesting in it and want
    to be kind of a developer in the further, I strongly recommend you to choose
    the Linux over windows, it has nothing to do with the cost. Choose Linux you
    are not only choosing an OS, but you are choosing an attitude, and a life style,
    especially for a dev.

    BEST OS FOR DEV
    Linux is created by the most great geek developers over the world, they don't know the market or how to satisfy the consumers, but they do know what the developers want, Linux is an OS for developers. It has lots of tools for developing software, managing your devices, automation tools, system admin. It can make you understand the things under the surface better, once you get familiar with it, you can fully control your computer. On windows you can do little with this.

    OPEN SOURCE
    The core of Linux is open source, you can learn how the system works by check out
    the source code of the kernel, play around by modify the source code and to see what will happen, this is a great way to learn the computer science. You could never get the
    windows' source code. Almost all of the software on Linux is open source, you can learn
    whatever you want by reading their codes, it is the most efficient way to learn software development.

    COMMUNITY
    Linux can lead you to the best developer communities, you can touch with the developers all around the world by reading their codes, discuss on the forums, contribute open source software with them on the github, you can find everything you want from the community.

    I'm used to be an windows developer and now switched to Linux, what I have said is from my real experience.
    Last edited: Jan 11, 2014
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  16. Yesyesloud

    Yesyesloud Active Member

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    Are you a computer science student, really? Do you have any idea on how important Linux is for the big business nowadays? Troll spotted :p
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  17. ryanvade

    ryanvade Administrator Staff Member Staff Writer

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    No cursing. Even this fake cursing is not allowed here. Be civil or leave. I will be editing your post.
  18. rstanley

    rstanley Member

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    This and the other comments you have made indicate, and let me put this as politely as I can, your lack of knowledge of the difference between MS Windows O/S's, and Linux/UNIX O/S's.

    This is NOT about "plain text" vs. "Pretty Pictures". It is about the true power of a text based Linux, vs GUI based MS Windows.

    Let's examine the local data-center, or massive "Cloud" server "farms". (What I say about servers can be applied to Linux workstations as well.)

    Some reports have estimated that over 60% of all physical, and/or virtual local data-center servers, and possibly even more in Cloud server farms, are Linux based. As for Supercomputers, that number is over 90%!!! Why are they NOT Windows based??? Why has the ISS switched out all MS Windows based machines and moved to Linux??? (By the nature of Linux "Distros" (Linux Distributions) available free of charge, and can be installed with NO License fee, or registration, these numbers can only be very rough estimates.)

    These servers are running File/Print/Firewall/Router/SQL/Mail/Web/Backup/Malware detection/VCS (Version Control Systems)/etc, etc, etc... applications and services. Probably over 90+% of these servers are text based, and NOT running a GUI by default, and many or most of these may not even have ANY GUI Windowing system installed at all. Why don't these powerful Linux servers need to run a GUI?

    When you think of a "text" user interface, you are probably thinking of an MS-DOS prompt, an EXTREMELY crippled CLI, or "Command Line Interface". "bash" on the other hand, the default CLI or "shell" in Linux, can be used to write much more powerful complex shell scripts or more simple one-liners. In addition to built-in bash commands, and other Linux/UNIX commands and apps, other scripts can be written in languages such as Python, PHP, Perl, etc...

    Take this relatively simple bash one-liner, from bashoneliners:

    find /directory1/directory2/ -maxdepth 1 -type f | sort | tail -n 5 | xargs md5sum

    All five commands, find, sort, tail, xargs, and md5sum come either pre-installed in most Linux Distros, or easily installed, for free, through the Distro's package manager. Now, perform the same operation in a MS Windows GUI. What apps need to be located, downloaded for free, or purchased to perform the same operation? How much manual work needs to be done despite the GUI??? (Far more complex one-liners exist in the real world using sed, awk, grep, and MANY, MANY other commands, and applications.!)

    Linux/UNIX Administrators can and do perform most of their work through a pure Linux console, or bash "terminals" within a Linux GUI. One Linux Administrator can maintain dozens of servers, in multiple locations anywhere in the world, from a remote location! If I were to maintain ANY MS Windows servers, I would want to be in front of the computer to perform ANY maintenance.

    I could go on, but instead...

    I agree with MikeyD when he mentions two documents,

    William E. Shotts, Jr.'s, "Learning The Shell"

    and

    Eric S. Raymond's, "The Art of Unix Programming"

    Please take a week (or two!) off, curl up with a Linux laptop, and study both these documents thoroughly (Along with other publications mentioned in these two documents, then review your opinion given.
    Last edited: Jan 12, 2014
  19. mek42

    mek42 Member

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    Thanks to this thread, I am now aware of, and reading, "The Art of Unix Programming". Very interesting so far. I graduated high school in 1992, so it is especially interesting to read about the historical development of Linux.

    If I don't click post reply now, there will be several paragraphs of how things used to be done. All I'll say is that you young folks should now and then appreciate being able to download 4.7 Gb and then burn it to one DVD in a matter of a few hours.
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  20. Richard Wallace

    Richard Wallace New Member

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    It was a hard road learning computers, with no background, returning to college at 50. I have seen a lot of the agony of lousy programs. First one I bought for my first computer was NT--special price at the UW Bookstore and not bad in the simpler days. Prof. at UW (and Hospital radiation programmer, proud to say he was a "geek" from back when) suggested Red-Hat Linux, albeit mostly for hard drive space back when it was limited.
    Right now debating where I go from XP Pro. My first thoughts are what MS Office has gravitated to--vs. why I only have Open Office in my most-used computer. (And why we used SPSS instead of Excel in US scientific work).
    I am not a computer whiz, really just a user of any product who likes to actually read the owner's manual, "turn the key" and drive down the road: WITHOUT constantly having to "fix" all the faults, screw-ups and glitches! Keeping XP going had some good suggestions, Dual Boot has always been in my plans and some others I am getting a look at here. So this dialog was of value to me. Thanks all.
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